Their was a St Factna near us in Rosscarbery (in Irish meaning wood of the pilgrims) and a well under his name . Lots of men named Factna around here. He was a big deal.

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And their is a "wort well" in Castlefreke (Coillte owned) woods nearby. No saint paired with it (but could be as I just past it very regularly and have never researched) but similar appearance and properties as one your just mentioning.

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Nov 6, 2023·edited Nov 6, 2023

I think the Church of Ireland cathedral in Rosscarbery is st Factna s isn’t it ? Nice to have another reader of the abbey of misrule just down the road . Good luck with your research. I was at CECAs the other day …. It’s a great project in an amazing place. X

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Oh cool. See you about. Great another reader nearby. Unsure but very possible the cathedral st. Factna. So many layers around here.

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Breastmilk is a very good cure for baby’s eye infections. The immune enhancing components in breastmilk are phenomenal. I read you as saying that it was breastmilk that the Saint bathed their eye in... Is that correct?

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I love- especially highlight by your concluding paragraph- that humans exist today who are sufficiently devout… persons that when certain things in life happen their source of authority and trust can sufficiently switch… from 2 generations of adverts pushing products to make us hyper-sanitized and especially accelerated societal germaphobia…

Switch… To washing ones eyeballs- of all bodily members!- with standing rainwater in a groove of exposes rock.

This beautiful truth about my human brethren even in these days, settles me a little this morning. Gives me a peace offering in exchange for my own itchy and weary sight from sore eyes.

There it is: a peace of cool rainwater collected in ancient natural stone. Be still and rest a while.

Hoping we may all rest our eyes again. Even now in the midst of blistering storms God bids me, still. Rest child.

With gratitude for this


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This one is also my favourite. As simple as it seems, I sense that there is a lots more complexity here than the last well. The hawthorn tree, humble and practically invisible in its humility, and the groove in the limestone; paired with each other and remembered with a primordial pile of stones. The whole thing sings of ancient symbolism and devotion.

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I never thought of this.


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Nov 5, 2023·edited Nov 5, 2023

Two things came to mind immediately when I saw the photo and when Paul noted the Hawthorn. Firstly, the limestone cup. Many ancient cultures carved cups in stone to leave their offerings after prayer. Much like we have seen all throughout these Holy Well sites, that Paul has so generously shared with us. Secondly, the Hawthorn is considered a Faerie tree. Faeries make their home under it. And it is for all intents and purposes immortal. Hawthorns live for hundreds of years. I often find myself in awe of the way plants find their way to the perfect spot, as if they have been planted there by a Loving Gardener.

This place is a very special place.

Edit; I would also add that stone cups are the same shape of a cupped hand. A cupped hand is a symbol of an open and grateful heart.

So much going on here! So much beauty.

I’m not saying it was actually carved by human hands. It is neither here nor there if it was, it was anyway:)

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I think you’re right. Thank you- I feel I’m standing next to a skilled art critic helping me find words for my hearts response to this painted canvas.

My good fortune!

Thank you again.

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Well I’m certainly not an art critic! But I have been communing with Creation for a long time, and don’t get me wrong, I’m only seeing a fraction of the story being told. It’s a very BIG story. I’m happy it spoke to you. That doesn’t always happen either. Hugs.

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Thinking on it a moment I am surprised I don’t prefer this well. Perhaps it’s just Bridget herself.

Though perhaps it’s also being won over slowly in my heart to warmth for things conservative.

Love no longer just fo the beautiful of natural creation. But also slowly and newly for culture.

I puzzled onPauls intuition they’re the same love. I thought, perhaps it’s in the ancient philosophical preferential love for the supreme beauty of the human form and face?

Perhaps real human culture as real human nature is as beautiful a reflection of the Creative purity I see in His simple canvas- tree, water, stone.

Something beyond my personal taste is growing in my eyes and heart.

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I have a poem I keep returning to. George MacDonald featured it as a preface to a chapter in Lilith. That chapter is the one in which Anodos begins to see the shape of humanity in Creation. The poem was written by a friend of his and was rather fresh. I imagine it was influenced by many long conversations they shared. I may have shared it here before but I’ll share it again:)

“Man doth usurp all space,

Stares thee, in rock, bush, river, in the face.

Never thine eyes behold a tree; ‘

Tis no sea thou seest in the sea, ‘

Tis but a disguised humanity.

To avoid thy fellow, vain thy plan;

All that interests a man, is man.”


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I do wonder if we have here in verse intimations of telos.

Logoi that animate all things- even stones and pools.

Thank you for 3.


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O, Heavenly King,

The Comforter.

Everywhere present and filling all things.

Come and abide in us.

Fr. John Behr is so brilliant in this regard. He points out that when God created the world the world he prefaced every act of creation, if not act and thought be one thing, with, “Let there be……”

But when he came to us he said, “Let us make…”

Here is a collaboration, a reciprocal relationship in which now we must say, “Let it be”.

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Now you’ve gotten straight to the end, for me.

As you perhaps know? Becoming human. By Fr. John Behr.

It’s the whole of Christian theology and anthropology, beginning to ending.

Available on Amazon.

What an age we have come to.

And that was you on Addisons substack too?

I’m given an odd life- only the past 3 years mind.


I pray for the peace of the sort of tweed jacket Addison wears.

That I be clothed in a likewise gentle, peaceful, meek and self-giving place on this earth.

One day the Lord will grant this peaceful state of joyful rhythmic equilibrium.

But I don’t need to worry it’s not quite yet. :)

Still grateful to meet a sister along the road. And other siblings. Who love me even as a wild and woolied one yet.

Thank you friend.


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I just want to add that as I was closing my iPad after writing the previous message I realized that the title to this post about this well was “Back to the Basics”. Lol! I literally laughed out loud. This well is definitely not basic. Although it is elemental. Funny.

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Nov 5, 2023·edited Nov 5, 2023

It's interesting to consider that culture and cultivation have the same root, and that God told Eve and Adam that their calling was to cultivate the Garden. I think that ideally, culture should be the higher expression of nature at the human register, such that cultural production is to us what birdsong is to our avian friends. And the very idea of a garden, of course, involves the input of human creativity and vision, with the purpose of raising the stuff of nature to an intensified level of beauty. It is also only in us humans that nature can appreciate herself, since our self-awareness is her mirror.

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I really love the analogy to birdsong.

As I try to help my children understand, humans are blessed as the only animals who can move and act contrary to their nature.

We’re so far along the great defeat Tolkien identified that a dimwit like me has lived over half his life not finding himself or his kind beautiful or capable of making things more beautiful.

But, better late than never.

Thank you Sethu


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Also, that was a breakthrough articulated by all clowns Ken Wilber for me:

The fox cannot appreciate the beauty if a sunset.

So he’s, bipeds. You are special.

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Awful spelling and grammar-

I really have startled to wonder if there’s a demon in my phone.

But if so an angel too.

Still hope you can decide and decipher my meaning.


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I remember thinking back in my college days that said clown was profound. Ah, sometimes you almost feel vertigo, seeing how far you’ve come.

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Thank you. Water, in all its forms, is life-giving and healing.

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Wikipedia is right! I have before me Volume 1 of Charles Plummer's edition of Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae, taken from the medieval manuscripts. In the Vita Sancti Mochoemog, the fourth chapter contains the story of St. Fachtnan's eyes. It's a strange tale. Before you read it, it helps to know that St. Mochoemog was the son of Beoanus and Ness, and St. Ita was his mother's sister. Here is my quick translation of it:

At that time holy Fachnanus, the wise and good, chanced to become blind. He saw nothing. He poured out his prayer to the Lord, that He should show him the medicine by which he might get his sight back. Then an angel of the Lord came to him and said, "You cannot get the health of your eyes back unless you wash your eyes and face in milk from the breasts of the wife of Beoanus the craftsman. She has never given birth, you see, but by a gift of God she now has a holy child in her womb." The angel said these things and left. But the saint of God [Fachnanus] was not familiar with Beoanus the craftsman, and he did not know in what part of Ireland he dwelt, and the angel did not tell him. And he said to his followers, "I know what I will do. I will go to the prophetess of God, the blessed Ita, and she will direct me in my search." And he set out to go to the holy Ita, a five days' journey. And when he had entered the territory of Corco Basce, his disciples heard the men in a certain millhouse speaking the name of Beoanus the craftsman. And the asked them whether they knew that craftsman Beoanus or whether they knew where he dwelt. Then one of the men said to them, "You see that woman going up to the house?" They answered, "We see her." He said to them, "She is the wife of Beoanus the craftsman." Then one of them ran after her and said to her, "Wait a little, happy woman, until our holy elder comes, for he wishes to greet you." She stayed where she was and said, "Truly it is a great happiness to me that a servant of Christ wishes to greet me." Now the holy Fachnanus came and asked here whether she was the wife of Beoanus the craftsman. She answered in accustomed way, modestly and chastely, "I am, sir." The saint said, "Are you with child?" She said to him, "God in his kindness has left me barren." Then the saint introduced himself by name and told her what had happened to him. The blessed woman said to him, "Sir, my breasts do not yet give milk." The saint said, "In the name of the Holy Trinity, by the holiness of your offspring, milk them, and surely they will give milk." She did according to the word of the man of God, and her breasts poured forth milk abundantly. So the saint washed his eyes with milk from the breasts of blessed Ness, the wife of Beoanus the craftsman, and there on the spot he got his sight back. And he saw sky and earth clearly and gave thanks to God, and he blessed that woman and her unborn child. And through the same woman Ness he commended his prayers and blessings to the holy Ita, and rejoicing in Christ, he went back with his followers to his monastery.

Here's the passage as found in Plummer, which I'm typing in here for anyone who prefers to read it in Latin (be forewarned, there is a lot of non-standard spelling):

Tunc temporis sanctus Fachnanus sapiens et probus aliquo eventu factus est cecus, et nichil videbat. Ipse sanctus...fudit ad Dominum orationem, ut ostenderet sibi medicinam qua lumen oculorum reciperet suorum. Deinde angelus Domini venit ad eum, dicens: 'Non poteris sanitatem oculorum invenire tuorum, nisi oculos et faciem tuam laveris lacte uberum uxoris Beoani artificis. Que enim numquam peperit, set dono Dei modo sanctum habet in utero conceptum.' Et haec angelus dicens, abscessit. Sanctus autem Dei non cognoscebat Beoanum artificem, et nesciebat in qua regione in Hybernia ille habitabat; et non indicauit ei angelus. Et ait ad suos sanctus: 'Scio quid faciam. Ibo ad Dei prophetissam, beatam Ytam; et ipsa mihi indicabit questionem meam.' Et cum intrasset plebem Corco Basce, audierunt discipuli eius homines in quodam molendino Beoanum nominantes artificem. Et ipsi eos interrogauerunt, si cognoscerent illum Beoanum artificem, vel si scirent ubi ipse habitabat. Tunc vnus illorum ait eis: 'Videtis illam mulierem ad uillam euntem?' Respondentibus illis: 'Videmus;' ait eis: 'Ipsa est Beoani uxor artificis.' Currit tunc illorum vnus post illam, dicens ei: 'Expecta, felix femina, paulisper, donec sanctus senior noster veniat, qui te vult salutare.' Illa stetit in loco, dicens: 'Vere magna est mihi felicitas, quod vvlt me Christi famulus salutare.' Sanctus iam ueniens Fachnanus interrogauit illam, si ipsa Beoani artificis vxor esset. Illa respondit suo more sobrie et pudice: 'Ego sum, domine.' Sanctus ait: 'Habesne in vtero conceptum?' Ait ei: 'Deus mihi sua bonitate sterili concessit habere.' Tunc sanctus, indicans se ipsum suo nomine, eit narrauit que sibi acciderant. Beata femina ait ei: 'Domine, ubera mea non dant adhuc lac.' Sanctus ad eam inqui: 'In nomine sancte Trinitatis per tui sanctitatem partus, mulge ea, et pro re certa lac dabunt.' Illa agens iuxta viri Dei uerbum, sua ubera ubertim lac fuderunt. Lauans igitur lacte uberum beate Nesse sanctus uxoris Beoani artificis oculos suos, ibi ilico lumen recepit suum. Et videns lucide 'celum' et terram, gratias egit Deo suo; et benedixit illam femminam et suum conceptum.

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so tangential...

but for the lovers of small and weak things I hope we all give Jimmy our $3 for wikipedia.

it's been touted in my line of work (education) as a poor and dubious source.

truly, it's the peoples' wisdom... folk and scholar alike.

it's wabisabi perfect.

give to wikipedia, more if you have, for the first time if you haven't.

because wikipedia is right.

it's a messy system, a perfect authority for today.

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Mark, I gave him $15 and $3 a month just the other night. I usually just give $10 or 20 once a year, and he manages to nudge me when it is time again. I like the low pressure approach.

I'm really grateful for the resource, as it reminds me of many things I once knew in younger days when the synapses were humming.

I also encourage folk to give something, even $3. Worthy cause....

Thanks Mark.

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I like his campy quasi personalized low grade endorsements to give, just a little. :)

He’s sooo not suave! No team of behavioural psychologists behind those adverts!

Increasingly endearing amidst the otherwise smooth gears of the machine world within Wikipedia operates.

He’s got my pathetic little regular pledge too. ;)

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Ah yes--the machine....

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Beautiful well. Thank you for presenting it. Lots of what has already been said here echoes with me.

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Very interesting Paul thank you

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Hi Paul. I'm posting this question about Fr. Cassian Sibley in hopes you might have a minute to respond. I'm enjoying your talks at the FPR, and I'm curious if you can give me the source for your quote from Fr. Sibley, the one about "What we will not preserve, we cannot share." I've looked all over but can't find books by the man. Would love to read more if he's publishing. THANKS.

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Back to the Basics:


Why do you suppose this particular pool of rainwater in rock, is a site for a Holy Well?

I cannot quite figure the dimensions of this pool.

I see weather warn rock smoothed out across the landscape, pictured. Surely within 100 kilometers, 300 kilometers radius there are other similar standing pools?


Why is this the site of a holy well?

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